Bak Kwa buns are really delicious. There aren’t many bakeries that sell this kind of bun. However it is very common to find its counterpart, pork floss bun sold in almost every bakery here in Singapore. Bak Kwa, also known as rougan in Mandarin is Chinese salty-sweet dried meat similar to jerky. Often times the meat is grilled over charcoal to give it a smoky flavour, then blended with a combination of spices, soy sauce and sugar. It can be used as an ingredient in other dishes or enjoyed on its own.
In the old times, Bak Kwa was an expensive, luxury food and families only splurged on it during Chinese New Year when they wanted to welcome prosperity for the coming New Year and offer lavish gifts for friends and family.
While it is no longer as expensive as it once was, it is still a traditional Chinese New Year food and welcomed gift for friends or relatives.
Bak Kwa is available throughout the year nowadays and people can enjoy it anytime, not just during Chinese New Year. I received a packet of Bak Kwa as a gift recently and I decided to use Bak Kwa as a filling for my bread buns today.
I used the water roux or tangzhong method in making the bread buns. Water roux makes bread extra soft, tender and fluffy. Water roux locks in the liquid throughout the entire process of mixing and baking. This results in breads that stay soft and fresh for longer. Water roux is basically a mixture of water and bread flour. To make it, you have to mix 1 part bread flour to 5 parts water (1:5 ratio) over 65 deg celcius. At 65°C, the gluten in the bread flour and water mixture would absorb the moisture and become leavened. Thus, when the water roux or tangzhong is added into other ingredients of a bread dough, it will be heightened and produce fluffier bread. The detailed description on how to make water roux is included in the recipe below. Here is the water roux I made.
Bak Kwa Buns
Ingredients (makes 12 buns):
For water roux:
20g bread flour
For bread buns:
195g bread flour
90g cake flour
12g milk powder
30g caster sugar
6g instant yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
75g water roux
45g unsalted butter
a small portion of beaten egg for egg wash
2 slices Bak Kwa, cut into small pieces or diced
- To make water roux, place 20g bread flour in a saucepan. Add 100ml water, mix with a hand whisk till smooth, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly with the hand whisk to prevent it from burning. Within 1 to 2 minutes, the mixture will start to thicken, stop when you see traces in the mixture for every stir you make with the hand whisk. Immediately transfer the water roux into a bowl and cover it with a cling wrap, making sure the cling wrap sticks onto the surface of the mixture. This is to prevent a film from forming on the surface. Leave to cool completely before using it.
- To make the bread dough, place bread flour, cake flour, milk powder, sugar, salt, yeast, egg, water and water roux (use 75g) in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Let the mixer knead the dough on high speed until the ingredients come together to form a dough, this takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the butter and continue to knead for another 15 to 20 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Upon adding the butter, the dough will become wet again, add some flour if it remains wet after 10 minutes of kneading. (You can make the dough with a bread machine, follow the instructions of your bread machine for the steps in adding ingredients)
- Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and let it proof for about one hour or till it doubles in size.
- Remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough to expel the gas in the dough. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions each weighing 45g. Roll each dough into smooth rounds, cover with cling wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, flatten each dough into a round disc. Press out any trapped air as you flatten the dough. Wrap each dough with diced Bak Kwa. Pinch and seal the seam tightly.
- Place seam side down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with cling wrap and proof for a second time for about one hour or till they double in size.
- Brush the top of each bun with egg wash.
- Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg celcius for 12 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool. Once cooled completely, store the buns in a airtight container.
These are so good. My daughter ate four in a day 🙂
bread bun recipe credit: happyhomebaking.blogspot.com